Jessica uses a beautiful word to describe herself- iridescent. Jessica is an active blogger and is volunteering with Safecity as a blogger. A student by the hours, she is passionate and ferocious in her writing on several issues that plague gender and our society.
Stop staring at me!
What is the most blatant and repetitive form of abuse that women face? The Stare. Ugh! The sick feeling that twists like a serrated knife in your stomach each and every time you see someone sink their eyes into your skin; the very feeling that we’ve become accustomed to ignore. I had never given much thought to it till I started travelling far for college and I got it every day. I started noticing the way people try to get away with it. As the train is leaving the platform, as you’re walking on the bridge, as you try to catch a rickshaw. Some days, I just don’t have the fight in me and I sling my bag in front of my chest. That helps. The stares do stop. But is that the solution? Do I’ve to wear chest armor the next time I go out? Will I then be armed enough to not be stared at? Instead of talking about why the ‘stare’ occurs, I’ll tell you about how it feels to be stared at. You feel no more than an object, one that can be poked and prodded without a touch. I feel dehumanized and demoralized each and every time that I catch you boring your eyes into my body. With your every look, I feel a part of my childhood being stripped away. Above all, I feel fury for every time I don’t stand up for myself and this is what needs to change. The stares will continue because change is slow but our attitude as women needs to be set at a different pace towards it. We shouldn’t look away but look back straight into their eyes and question them for raking over our bodies. If sensitization hasn’t been heard by their deaf ears, we must undertake a personal effort to make those very eyes that breached our boundaries cry tears of realization and knowing. Because telling them how and that they’re wrong won’t help as much as letting them know how it feels. We’re not merchandise. Even by that ridiculously inhumane standard, we’re not free.
It’s not only men that stare but women too. I feel shameful every time I save myself by hopping into the ladies compartment only to find myself being stared at angrily or critically by other girls or women. To all of you, change begins with you. If you treat other human beings in this manner, you’re setting an example for how others may treat you.